Traffic > Transit

Beep and Mastercard partner up for contactless payments

Soon you may be able to tap into MRT-3 with your credit card

If the proof-of-concept study goes well, Beep and Mastercard's partnership may lead to acceptance of EMV cards for fare payments. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

AF Payments (AFPI) and Mastercard have partnered up to introduce contactless payments to buses and trains. Soon enough, you may be able to tap to pay with your Mastercard credit or debit card in lieu of a Beep card.

There’s a catch, though.

AFPI clarified that, while such a partnership has indeed been in the works, the technology behind enabling public transit payments using Mastercard debit, credit and prepaid cards is still undergoing a proof-of-concept technical study. In short, paying by contactless debit or credit card is still not available for use by the public just yet.

AF Payments says that learning from how other countries do their fare collections helps it improve and benefit the riding public. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

It’s not the first time the idea has been explored, however. Just last year, Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Landbank announced a pilot study allowing passengers to pay for jeepney fares with Landbank EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) cards.

Other countries already adopt contactless EMV cards in their fare collection systems. Besides transport-specific cards such as the Oyster and EZ-Link cards, you can use local and foreign contactless debit and credit cards on the London Underground and Singapore MRT. Hong Kong’s MTR just recently rolled out theirs, albeit restricted to Visa cards.

In other countries—such as Transport for London's network—you can simply tap on and tap off the Underground with your EMV credit or debit card. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

AFPI says the proof-of-concept study is a way for the brand to “explore and learn” from other countries’ foray into the payment method, in a bid to benefit the riding public.

The Beep card should still be usable alongside the new payment method if and when the EMV payment scheme finally gets rolled out.

Perhaps allowing for fare payments via contactless EMV would help with the shortage of Beep cards we’ve experienced recently, or help fix the growing mess of separate incompatible transport payment cards that commuters have been slowly collecting throughout the years.

Hans Bosshard

Hans is the ultimate commuter: He drives a car and he rides a bicycle. He also likes tinkering with mechanical stuff.